Handy tips and visitor information to make vacation planning easy

Planning a vacation to Samoa. Then you need to read our helpful tips and useful visitor information to ensure you make the most of your upcoming holiday.

Visas & useful Visitor Information

Immigration
Upon entering Samoa a tourist stay of max. 30 days is typically granted. You require a valid passport, which is valid for at least three months on arrival, a valid return or onward ticket and sufficient funds to finance your stay. You can demonstrate this with cash, travelers checks or a credit card. There are no special requirements with respect to mandatory vaccinations for tourists. Upon arrival, an “Arrival Card” “be filled with personal data; This is already being distributed on board the aircraft.

On arrival in Samoa, the traveler is asked for an explanation on any brought food, plants and products of animal origin. To protect the pristine nature and agriculture New Caledonia has strict rules regarding the importation of food, animals and plants.

International Departure in New Caledonia
Check-in time for international flights from Samoa is 120 minutes before departure. Airport taxes (Airport Departure Tax) is currently 40 WST per person. Anyone who leaves the country must pay this amount in cash at the airport.

Electricity
The electricity in Samoa is 220V / 50Hz using three pin plugs as in Australia are in use. In American Samoa is electricity 110V / 60Hz using American plugs.

Food & Drink
In Apia there is a large variety of restaurants as well as several fast food restaurants, local “takeaways” and small restaurants (such as bistros, Pizarias and Asian restaurants). There are many excellent restaurants available here. Especially fish specialties are worth trying here. The dress code is usually informal “Casual”, although in upscale restaurants resorts sometimes evening dress is appreciated. Outside the larger cities and you are reliant on the outer islands in the restaurant of your accommodation.

Internet
If you have your laptop or smartphone along on your trip, you can use it in certain places using a wifi connection (e.g. At airports, hotel lobbies, at Starbucks, etc.)

If you want to access the internet on the go, that you need to purchase a SIM card (or dongle) for the UMTS network. These are for sale in the shops of the major telecom providers (such as Telstra and Vodafone). Along the main routes and in most places the mobile reception is good.

Currency & costs

Currency
The currency is the Samoa Tala (Tala 1 = 0.30 euros). There are 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Tala. There are coins of 1 Tala and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 Sene.

Paying by credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club) sometimes causes problems. However, can be paid in most hotels, restaurants and shops of Western Samoa USD. Other foreign currency and travelers checks Thomas Cook and American Express can be exchanged in hotels and banks in Tala, where you have to take into account exchange costs.

The currency in American Samoa is the USD. In most hotels, restaurants and shops of American Samoa Credit cards accepted.

There are a limited number of ATMs in Samoa, especially in Apia, in a few larger villages, the airport and the wharf.

Tipping
In Samoa tipping is unusual. In American Samoa, according to American custom of personal service expected a tip of about 15%. Service charges and taxes are included Western Samoa. Prices in American Samoa are often excluding service tax by 2%.

When to go

Climate
For a warm and dry winter holiday it is best you choose May to October.

What to wear for the climate
When you plan your visit to the Samoa it is best to bring light summer clothing. When visiting a local village residents make sure not to show up in swimwear, but with shirt or t-shirt.

Consider a thin raincoat (for walks) and plastic sandals or reef shoes (for protection against coral). Bring a hat or cap to protect against the sun. The shops will otherwise provide virtually everything that you need to enjoy your holiday.

Getting there

Samoa International Airport is 25km outside Apia – on the northwest side of the island.

These airlines conduct international flights:

Air New Zealand (Auckland [Nw.Zealand])
Air Pacific (Nadi [Fiji]), with connections to Los Angeles and Amsterdam (you need to take into account a total travel time of at least 24 hours)
Qantas (Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
Virgin Australia (Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])

Also from the easterly located American Samoa can be flown internationally.

American Samoa Airport is the main island of Tutuila, 25 kilometers southwest of Pago Pago. There is hence a direct flight to Honolulu in Hawaii and flights to Apia. All other airports and airstrips only serve the domestic air traffic.

Getting around

Upolu – the bus – is a cheap way to explore the island. However, takes into account crowds and long waiting time. The airport bus runs several times daily between Faleolo International Airport and major hotels in Apia.

On Savai’i public transport is scarce.

Health & safety

Health
The climate in Samoa is pleasant, therefore you usually do not need to take any special medical precautions. However, the best you can go to your family doctor for specific advice.

Samoa has almost no dangerous or poisonous animals. The most dangerous animal is probably the shark. Inside the reefs in the lagoon from time to time you will see small harmless reef sharks. The larger shark species – such as the hammer head, tiger shark and white shark – like deep water so you are only likely to encounter if you are scuba diving outside of the lagoon.

Remember that the coral is sharp. To prevent sores and possible infections, we recommend that you wear plastic sandals or reef shoes when you are walking or in shallow water over coral is swimming over the coral. If you have to cut the coral the risk of infection is very large, do not wait to long to use antibiotics.

Water in Samoa
Tap water is generally safe to drink on Fiji, but chlorinated. For safety, however, we advise you to boil your drinking water or buy bottled water.

Sunburn in Samoa
Fiji is located in the tropics, the air is not polluted and pure. This brings strong solar radiation unhindered on earth. Head covering and a sunscreen with a high protection factor is so highly recommended.

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Country Profile

Population
The population of New Caledonia is 190,372.

Religion
Sixty percent of the people of New Caledonia are Roman Catholic and thirty percent are Protestant.

Language
Samoan is the official language of Samoa. English is the second language and all islanders can speak English as well.